If you keep spending more than you earn, you need to get things under control with some simple tips and tricks.
Food shopping is a huge expense for everyone, with the average household forking out £56.80 on groceries each week. However, there are ways to save money when shopping.
Stick to a list in the supermarket, and know where the best bargains can be found. For cheap, long-lasting staples, head straight to the frozen aisle. The Sun found that you can save £260 a year by choosing frozen options on 10 core items over their fresh equivalents.
Save more by buying rice, spices and pulses in bulk in the World Food aisle, and pick up the cheapest nuts and dried fruit in the baking section. Be wary of supermarket offers and only snap up BOGOF (buy one get one free) deals if they can be stored or frozen. If you buy fresh foods in bulk, you’ll end up throwing them – and your money – away.
Seeing is believing
If someone offered you a cool £1,000, you’d bite their hand off, so why do we all happily fritter away nearly the same amount each year without really noticing?
A survey by Aviva insurance found that we spend an average of £947 on what they called 'invisible items' each year. That’s things we barely notice, like takeaway coffees, shop-bought lunches and little sweet treats. Start writing down everything you spend, so that all those invisible things suddenly become impossible to ignore.
Sleep on it
“I need that dress!” “I can’t live without those trainers!” Ever heard yourself saying things like that? Of course life will go on without the latest ‘must have’ and chances are you’ll forget about them after a few days anyway.
If you see something you love, give yourself a cooling off period. Walk away from the shop, or switch to a different website, and sleep on it. If after 48 hours you still can’t get it out of your mind, then ask yourself if you’ve got the money for it. If the answer’s no, steer clear.
You’ll have heard of the ‘sharing economy’, that’s where people share their expertise or possessions with others, offering cheaper – or even free – services compared with more established businesses.
There’s the well-known players like Uber and Airbnb, but you can also get something for nothing (or not very much), thanks to services like Freecycle, where people give away things they don’t need, or apps such as Borrow-it, where you can borrow a hedge trimmer, tent or anything you like from other people for a fraction of the cost of buying it.
Sharing lifts to work, and cutting the cost of fuel, is another money saver, especially as transport is one of our biggest household expenses. Check out sites like liftshare.com to find someone going your way or ask around in your office. It might be the start of a beautiful friendship.
Snip beauty spending
For women, spending on beauty items can be a major cost. A recent survey found that regular treatments for hair, waxing and manicures added up to £1,100 a year.
You can save money by teaching yourself how to use a home-waxing kit. Invite your friends round for a beauty evening, where you can do each other’s nails, and find out about local beauty colleges where students will give you a quick trim for a snip of your usual salon cut.
Now is the time to take control of your spending.